Wednesday, May 2, 2018

When The Meds That Heal Your Body Make You Lose Your Mind

Apparently today is Maternal Mental Health Day. I don't know what good posting a gif about it on Facebook does for anyone, it doesn't help me. It probably doesn't help your pregnant or postpartum neighbor either who really just wants someone to listen to her without belittling her feelings.

I was on three antidepressants when I got pregnant. Why three? I don't know, I only felt like one of them ever helped. One of the others was also supposed to help migraines, so that was the reason for that one. When I got pregnant my doctor had me stop those (two could be stopped cold turkey, one had to be tapered) and switch to a different one. My anxiety got so bad on the new one that I wanted to peel my skin off. I didn't take it for a day or two and the anxiety was better, so I just stopped taking all of them. Yes, I know you're not supposed to do that but I'm also not supposed to want to peel my skin off and feel like I'm being hit in the chest every few minutes. Then I wanted to stick my head in an oven, if I had a gas oven.

Those feelings eventually got better though. Then I got sick and I got angry and hopeless. Before getting any meds to help my Crohn's, I had to get tests that were like torture and the paper pushers had to decide if getting me better was in their best interest ($). Meanwhile everyone else gets to tell me how everything I'm doing is wrong and how everything I'm going to do is wrong and while they've never been me they know how I should be.

Then I finally get medicine that makes my body function more like a normal healthy body. Not exactly, but closer than it was. Unfortunately, one of the many side effects is depression. Now they're talking about causing depression in the average person, so what does that mean for someone who already has clinical depression and isn't on any meds for it? They give not normally depressed people anti-depressants when they take this drug. So now I'm having an internal debate about restarting those anti-depressants that put my anxiety through the roof. They can take 2 weeks or more to work though, and will they make it worse?

People like to tell me that I'm okay, that it will be okay, that my feelings are okay. This doesn't help. Ignoring the problem doesn't make it go away. I know I'm not crazy even though I feel like I'm going crazy sometimes. Something in my mind is not working correctly but it doesn't make me an idiot, I know something is wrong. I'm angry and I'm sad and I'm afraid. I don't want to feel this way, I don't want to think this way. Telling me it's okay doesn't help me.

Then there's also the people who have the idea that once I have the baby everything will automagically get better. No, just because pregnancy triggered a Crohn's flare doesn't mean that it goes away when I'm not pregnant anymore. There's no good analogy for this, but if an anvil falls on my car the car doesn't pop back into shape when the anvil is taken off. Plus, do these people know/remember what it's like to take care of a baby? It's definitely easier when they are still inside the womb. Having four kids to take care of is not going to make things easier, just hard in different ways.

Friday, April 27, 2018


Yes, I am having a baby shower for my 4th child. No, this is not how my mom raised me.

You're of course required to have a shower for your firstborn. You may have a shower for your second, IF it is the opposite gender or there is a large gap of time. Any subsequent children do not have a shower unless there is a large gap of time. I did not have a shower for my third, and I didn't really want a shower this time.

However, about a year ago, we gave away 98% of our baby items. We weren't planning on having another baby any time soon. Actually, we do know "how that happens." Thank you for asking! Did you know that the average effectiveness of the 5 most common types of birth control under typical use is only 84%? Someone has to be that 16%!

My sister-in-law offered to throw me a shower and I eventually said yes because we can't afford to buy everything we need. If you don't like it, you don't have to come. If you're concerned that it might look bad if you don't come or don't send a gift, then that's your issue and you have to work that out within yourself. I don't need your approval, I don't even have my own. I just really need stuff for the baby.

While you're being nosy, yes, this is our last child. No, it's not an "oh, you say that now, but..." thing. What business is it of yours anyway? You are not carrying them, you are not birthing them, you are not taking care of their every need every hour of every day. If you need more children around, you go do those things. Likewise, if you're not doing those things then you have no right to comment on us having more children. There are two people who have a say in how many children that we have, it's about 85% me and 15% husband, and then God changes everything.


I did not write about my sickness for attention. I do not want more attention. I wrote about it to help people understand. So they can understand why I'm not there. I will not give you an award for praying for me, there's no need to tell me every day.

I chose to write about it once it started to get better, writing about it any earlier was an impossible task in more ways than one. This week I have been a lot less sick.

I know some people sincerely mean it when they offer to help but I am not in the mood. I want to be able to do things myself and it makes me upset when I can't.

I am angry, I am irritable. That is what the medicine that is helping does. What you say to me, especially if you think you have the answer to my problems (you don't and I've already tried it anyway), will make me angry.

These are common side effects of the medicine that is making me feel better:
  • Aggression
  • agitation
  • blurred vision
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • dizziness
  • fast, slow, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • headache
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • noisy, rattling breathing
  • numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • pounding in the ears
  • shortness of breath
  • swelling of the fingers, hands, feet, or lower legs
  • trouble thinking, speaking, or walking
  • troubled breathing at rest
  • weight gain
Fun, right?

Thank you for understanding.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

A Day in the Life: A Crohn's Flare During Pregnancy

People ask how I'm feeling a lot. There are maybe a handful of people I feel I can give an honest answer to, maybe. I'd really prefer that people didn't ask. 1. They don't really care, it's just the polite thing to say. 2. They don't want to know the real answer even if I wanted to tell them.

I turn down a lot of events and play dates these days. I haven't been able to do them. People ask, "oh, are you still getting sick?" My sick is much more than morning sickness, but since I'm pregnant everyone relates my "being sick" to normal pregnancy issues. That is not the case. I also have Crohn's Disease.

Yes, this is my 4th pregnancy, but it has been very different and much more difficult (I just hope that's not saying anything about the baby to come). During my previous pregnancies my Crohn's was under control, it was actually better than when I wasn't pregnant! (This post is about to get a little graphic, so if you just ate, turn away now) This pregnancy started with indigestion from the pits of hell (I also have GERD). It got so bad that I started to wonder if I had pancreatitis again. Then the diarrhea started. At first I told myself it was normal pregnancy hormones causing the change, or maybe the antibiotics I had for a sinus infection. It didn't get better.

I really knew something was wrong this time around, or at least had to stop denying it, when I traveled to Panama City in January for my grandma's birthday. The pain in my gut that day was something I hadn't experienced in years. By the end of the party I was having a hard time sitting up straight or standing. I wanted to curl up in a ball but what I really wanted was to go home and use my own bathroom.

Many people, understandably, think of someone with Crohn's Disease as just having to go to the bathroom a lot. While frequent trips to the bathroom are often a big part of the disease it is much more complicated than that. With Crohn's Disease, parts of the gastrointestinal tract (yes, the whole thing, mouth to bum, different/multiple sections depending on the patient) are inflamed. It is angry, it hates you, and it can be difficult for things to fit through. It hurts.

When in a flare (do I need to explain flare? My husband didn't know what it meant until recently. It essentially means the disease is active, symptoms are present; not in remission) I not only have to go to the bathroom frequently but I'm in pain. When I go to the bathroom, I'm not just passing the worst diarrhea ever. I'm passing mucus, blood, and completely undigested food. Sometimes one of those things is all I pass. If you've ever been disturbed by what you've seen in the toilet after you had a BM, imagine feeling like you have to go badly, then standing up to see a toilet full of blood. Remember I'm pregnant so I also get to pair this with morning sickness and this pregnancy everything makes me nauseated.

This is not only disturbing, annoying, and painful, it also means that my body is not absorbing the nutrients it needs to. I'm often dehydrated and borderline anemic. I'm also angry and tired and I have all the normal pregnancy woes as well.

It's 9:30 am and I've already gone to the bathroom 8 times today (and not because pregnant women pee a lot if you know what I mean). That being since about 6:30, I'm not counting the times during the night. 

I've only almost thrown up this morning, so that part it good.

I have 2 kids that are in school, I couldn't take them because I had to use the bathroom, my husband took them. Their school is two blocks from our house. I often can't make it there.

My youngest is home with me and I tend to let him watch more TV than I like because I can't do anything with him right now. I'm so tired, hurting, and uncomfortable. I never know when I'll have to get up and rush to the bathroom. 

I'm cooking some rice with extra water so I can drink it. It's supposed to help diarrhea, it hasn't worked so far.

Around lunch time my trips to the bathroom become less frequent, though no less urgent. We won't go anywhere today. I'm afraid to leave the house. What if I'm in the middle of a store and can't get to the bathroom in time? What if it happens while driving the van?

We haven't gone much of anywhere in weeks, months. We go to doctor appointments. I'll have a week that's like doctor appointment week. I'll see my OB, I'll see the maternal/fetal medicine doctor (for high risk pregnancies), and I'll see the gastroenterologist. Three weeks later I'll do it all again.

I have to make my appointments around lunch time or later. I used to do this so that husband could come on his lunch break but now it's more because that's when I'm less likely to be rushing to the bathroom. I have to take Imodium to be able to make it through the appointments anyway. I have to take children's Imodium, it's liquid and mint flavored. It's disgusting. Later I'll pay for taking it, but it's the only way I can leave the house.

By the afternoon I can sit outside for a while and watch Ben play. I'm afraid to move around too much. It's uncomfortable and it might make me have to go to the bathroom. 

I can pick the older kids up from school, I'm worried about how long I might have to wait in line but I do it. Ben gets a nap when we get back home. I really want a nap.

I really don't feel like helping Will with homework but if I save too much for husband to help with then he can't help me with supper or occupy the kids while I cook. I'm irritable and snappy.

The evening goes by fairly normally, just with more moodiness and exhaustion from me.

It's about time for bed now so, of course, the frequent bathroom trips start up again. I'll go 3-4 times over the next 2 hours. When I finally lay down in bed, I have about 5 minutes until I have to jump (as well as a largely pregnant woman can) up out of bed and rush to the bathroom.

Tomorrow we start it all over.

Friday, February 10, 2017


Nearly everything I do, or don't do, is because of fear. I'm probably afraid of you. Is fear the opposite of love? I don't think I agree with that. I think you can love and fear at the same time, after all, we're supposed to fear God. In that sense fear is part of respect. The problem with our earthly love and fear is that our love is flawed. "Perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18) I am far from perfect.

Sometimes I don't even try. I'm afraid of failure. I already feel like I've failed at so many things. I'm constantly letting people down, so I don't commit myself to things. I'm afraid of helping wrong, not saying the right things, not saying enough, saying to much, not playing the right role. It makes me so anxious that it's crippling. I'm always disappointing someone. Especially myself.
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